Wednesday Kickoff: Coyle speaks with Muamba, English clubs fined and more

Muamba (Getty Images)

Fabrice Muamba remains in serious condition and in intensive care as attempts to recover from a cardiac arrest, but each day appears to bear improvement.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle spoke with Muamba briefly for the first time since the incident, telling the BBC that "There is still a long way to go, but that is really positive."

"His heart is beating without the help of medication but we remain very much at the beginning of a long-term journey for Fabrice and his family," Coyle added in a statement released by the club. "Fabrice is a fighter, and his family have shown great strength in this testing time. They have been greatly comforted by the huge amount of support they have received from around the world."

Players and teams all over England and the world have shown support for Muamba by wearing warm-up T-shirts with messages for the 23-year-old midfielder. Lionel Messi wore a shirt that said "Fabrice!!!! We Are Behind You!" prior to Barcelona's match with Granada on Tuesday.

While Bolton continues to comprehend all that has happened, it must attempt to turn some of its focus back to the field. Its league match against Aston Villa scheduled for Tuesday was postponed, and the FA Cup quarterfinal against Tottenham that was halted when Muamba collapsed has yet to be rescheduled but will be replayed. Bolton's league match against Blackburn slated for Saturday will also go ahead as scheduled.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

NEWCASTLE, SUNDERLAND FINED

The bad blood that boiled over during Newcastle's weekend clash with Sunderland will cost both Premier League sides.

Newcastle was fined £40,000, while Sunderland was fined £20,000 for "failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour," according to an FA statement.

The inciting incident came in the 19th minute of the match, when Sunderland's James McClean offered a rough challenge to Newcastle's Danny Simpson, sparking a fight in which nearly all the players on the field were involved. Because it was Newcastle's second such charge this season, the club's punishment was doubled. 

JUVENTUS EDGES AC MILAN TO REACH CUP FINAL

Juventus and AC Milan have been going at each other all season, and while Milan currently has the upper hand in the Serie A table, Juventus struck back in the Coppa Italia.

Mirko Vucinic's extra-time goal forced a 2-2 draw in Tuesday's second leg, giving Juventus a 4-3 victory on aggregate and a place in the cup final.

Alessandro Del Piero had put Juventus ahead before Djamel Mesbah and Maxi Lopez leveled the aggregate with second-half goals and forced extra time. Vucinic scored in the 96th minute on a blast from distance to put Milan away.

Juventus, which has still yet to lose this season, will face either Napoli or Siena in the final.

PORTUGAL TO HOST 2014 UCL FINAL

For the first time in almost 50 years, the final of Europe's club championship will be played in Lisbon.

Estadio da Luz, home to Portuguese power Benfica, has been chosen to host the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, marking the first time that the stadium will have hosted a European final since 1967, when Celtic and Inter Milan met for the final of the European Cup. This year's final is slated for Allianz Arena in Munich, while next year's final will return to Wembley Stadium in London.

UEFA also awarded the 2014 Europa League final to Juventus' new stadium. This year's championship game is being played in Romania, while the 2013 final will be played in Holland's Amersterdam ArenA.

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Do you think Bolton should return to action this weekend? What did you think of the Newcastle-Sunderland incident? Are you impressed with Juventus' undefeated season? Booking your reservations for Lisbon 2014?

Share your thoughts below.

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4 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Coyle speaks with Muamba, English clubs fined and more

  1. Second City says:

    Well there’s some added motivation for Ronaldo to guide Real Madrid to the Champions League final, if he needed one with all of the Messi talk (rightfully so).

  2. fischy says:

    Estadio da Luz? You mean Sunderland stole the name? Disappointing…

  3. GSScasual says:

    Keep getting better, Fab!

  4. Jamie Z. says:

    I’ve been following the Muamba story intently since the match and I’m overjoyed to see him making progress; I’d honestly feared the worst for him. The outpouring of support and solidarity from the football world has been heartwarming.